Tomorrow: Wild Horse Advocates Call on NV Ag Board to Restore Community Agreements for Humane Management of Virginia Range Mustangs

Sparks, Nevada (June 5, 2018)… Wild horse advocates will converge on the Nevada Board of Agriculture meeting tomorrow to urge members to direct the Nevada Department of Agriculture (NDA) to enter into temporary agreements to resume humane management activities for the Virginia Range horses while a long-term agreement that is acceptable to all stakeholders is negotiated.

What:      NV Board of Agriculture Meeting
When:     Wed., June 6, 2018, 9 a.m.
                 Advocates will speak during public comments at 9 a.m.
Where:    405 South 21st St., Sparks, NV

They will present a letter, signed by a dozen organizations, calls on the Board, NDA and Governor Brian Sandoval to restart the birth control and range management programs that were humanely reducing population growth rates and protecting public safety by addressing issues with horses in roadways and developments.

In October 2017, the NDA abruptly terminated two Cooperative Agreements with the American Wild Horse Campaign, which acted as the umbrella for local volunteer groups implementing humane birth control and range management activities.

In December, the Board of Agriculture directed the NDA to issue an RFP to give away the Virginia Range horses to a private owner – a move that prompted a lawsuit from AWHC and local resident Cynthia Ashe and was officially withdrawn on May 10 after no proposals were submitted. On May 18, James Barbee left his position as NDA director, leaving the agency’s top executive post vacant, with an acting director filling in.

“The NDA and the state cannot continue to complain about horse overpopulation while simultaneously turning their backs on a community-based program that can significantly reduce population growth rates in the Virginia Range herd at no cost to Nevada taxpayers,” the letter states. “No logical reason exists for preventing this program – one implemented by trained and qualified community volunteers at no cost to the state -- from resuming as soon as possible.”

Signatories to the letter include the American Wild Horse Campaign (Davis, CA/Reno & Gardnerville, NV); Chilly Pepper Miracle Mustang Rescue (Golconda, NV); Kris Thompson, Project Manager, Tahoe Reno Industrial Center (TRI) (Sparks, NV); Least Resistance Training Concepts (Stagecoach, NV); LBL Equine Rescue (Silver Springs, NV); Let ‘Em Run Foundation (Reno, NV); Pine Nut Wild Horse Advocates (Gardnerville, NV); Virginia Range Wildlife Protection Association (Virginia Highlands, NV); Wild Horse Connection (Reno, NV); Wild Horses In Need (Ojai, CA and Golconda, NV); and Wild Horse Preservation League (Dayton, NV).

The historic herd of Virginia Range mustangs lives in a 3,000 acre habitat area that spans from Reno to Carson City, Silver Springs and Fernley. Approximately one-third of the habitat is encompassed by the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center (TRI) where management (Storey County Commissioner Lance Gilman and Project Manager Kris Thompson) and businesses like Switch, Blockchains and Tesla have been supportive of protecting the free-roaming horses on their land.

The American Wild Horse Campaign (AWHC) is dedicated to preserving American wild horses and burros in viable, free-roaming herds for generations to come, as part of our national heritage. Its grassroots mission is endorsed by a coalition of more than 60 horse advocacy, humane and public interest organizations.